Manchester United took on Crystal Palace at Wembley in the FA Cup final and came out 2-1 winners after extra-time. With both teams keen to end a disappointing season on a high, there were not too many risks to speak of in the beginning.
As the game progressed, it opened up but it was only late into the game that substitute Jason Puncheon launched Crystal Palace into the lead with a rocket of a finish in the 78th minute. Manchester United responded within 3 minutes as Juan Mata helped his side take the game into extra time.
At the fag end of first extra time half, Chris Smalling left the pitch for a second booking and it seemed Manchester United would be glad to take the game to penalties. It was, however, a magical strike from Jesse Lingard that ended the game in the second half of extra time as Louis van Gaal’s men lifted the FA Cup.
Here’s a look at the Player Ratings.
David de Gea – 7/10
David de Gea made things look easy on the night as he normally does but was completely befuddled by Jason Puncheon’s bazooka of a finish from an acute angle.
Antonio Valencia – 6/10
Valencia did not look completely at ease but did reasonably well to keep a lively Bolasie from doing anything of consequence all game. Valencia was good going forward as he pumped in some dangerous crosses.
Chris Smalling – 5/10
Chris Smalling was party to an excellent tussle between himself and Connor Wickham. He won on most occasions but Wickham had his moments in the game. Smalling was exceptional when defending set pieces but had his issues dealing with the pace of Zaha and later Puncheon as the game progressed.
Then his night got worse as he received a second yellow trying to prevent a Crystal Palace counter-attack. Lapse of judgement as Smalling’s challenge was a tad pointless.
Daley Blind – 6/10
Daley Blind didn’t do anything spectacular but did reasonably well to keep things clean on his side. He played the ball out on several occasions setting the tone from the back.
Marcos Rojo – 5/10
Marcos Rojo was solid on most occasions at Wembley but had a tough time dealing with Zaha on his side. He was booked for his troubles and taken off for Matteo Darmian after 66 minutes.
Michael Carrick – 6/10
Michael Carrick did well to tick play but was often stretched in midfield especially after Puncheon came on. Before that, he was helped by a pace-less midfield of Jedinak, Cabaye and McArthur. After Smalling’s sending off Carrick nearly scored the winner in extra time.
Marouane Fellaini– 7/10
Marouane Fellaini was a thorn in the eye of this Palace side as he kept bothering the Palace defenders all evening. He even came close to scoring before eventually bringing the ball down for Juan Mata to level scores before the end of normal time. He did get a usual yellow card.
Wayne Rooney – 8/10
Wayne Rooney was probably the best player on the pitch. Leading from the front, he started a number of United attacks in the second half with his pin-point passes and was never shy of tracking back and defending for the team. It was his brilliant run which led to the equaliser, three minutes after Palace had opened the scoring through Puncheon.
Juan Mata – 8/10
A typical Juan Mata performance barring the considerable influence he is used to having on one. His flick ons and interplay set the tone for most United attacks but it was the Spaniard’s excellent positioning which had him ready to score the leveler on the night.
Anthony Martial – 7/10
Manchester United have a big player in Anthony Martial. He continues to be the most viable threat for this side and keeps giving the best defenders a hard time. It’s hard to believe he is as young. His overall play deserved a goal but he could only hit the post.
Marcus Rashford – 7/10
Marcus Rashford continued to impress as he kept piling the pressure on the Palace defenders all game. A little more luck could’ve seen him get on the scoreboard as well.
Matteo Darmian – 6/10
Matteo Darmian replaced Marcos Rojo on 66 minutes and did look stretched by Zaha at times. He did decently overall.
Ashley Young – 5/10
After coming on after 72 minutes, Young did not do anything spectacular or of note. He seemed to do better when playing auxiliary left back after Smalling was sent off.
Jesse Lingard – 7/10
Jesse Lingard was lively after coming on and tried his best to influence proceedings. But it was his wonder goal in the second half of extra time that really caught the headlines.